arvan's picture

Whatever I feel...

I am really falling in love with The New Internationalist.  I ran across this well written and thoughtful piece today.  The question of whether the individual or the society is given preference in defining the individual, is being thrust into the spotlight as a topic of sex, gender, body - around the globe.  Every day, I see more news of people articulating for themselves, the terms of how they are to be defined rather than assume the terms that society would give them.  These are wonderous times, indeed.


'Boy or girl?' tends to be the first question asked when a baby is born.
And a cursory look at the genitals usually provides the answer.
But it's not that simple, says Zachary I Nataf.

'Whatever I feel, that's the way I am. I was born a girl, and that girl died one day and a boy was born. And the boy was born from that girl in me. I am proud of who I am. A lot of people actually envy us.' Chi-Chi, who lives in a village in the Dominican Republic, is speaking to filmmaker Rolando Sanchez for his 1997 documentary Guevote.

The film portrays the daily lives of Chi-Chi and Bonny, two 'pseudo-hermaphrodites', and the way in which their families, partners and other villagers respond to them.

They are not alone. A rare form of pseudo-hermaphroditism was first found among a group of villagers in the Dominican Republic in the early 1970s. Thirty-eight people were traced with the condition, coming from 23 extended families and spanning four generations.

Chi-Chi's mother has ten children. Three of those ten are girls, three of them are boys 'and four are of this special sort.' she says. 'I knew that this sort of thing existed before I had my own kids. But I never thought that it would happen to me... I told them to accept their destiny, because God knows what he's doing. And I said that real men often achieve less than those who were born as girls. And that's how it turned out. My sons who are real men haven't achieved as much as the others.' 1

The medical explanation is that, while still in the womb, some male babies are unable to produce the testosterone which helps external male genitals to develop. They are born with a labia-like scrotum, a clitoris-like penis and undescended testes.

In the Dominican Republic many of these children were first assumed to be female and were brought up as such. But because they were genetically male, they began to develop male characteristics at puberty, including penis growth and descending testes. Villagers gave these children the local name guevedoche or 'balls at twelve'.

arvan's picture

Fat Enough to Belong?

Dimensions Magazine is really turning into a great place to find personal and engaging talk on how large individuals identify themselves to society and are identified by society.  The site provides a clear demonstration of how we all seek to be known for who we are, in our own words.  This desire (often times a struggle) varies only by subject matter.  Whether it is weight, BDSM, gender, age, disability or any other conversation about who we are in the world, we all have a unique self that we know ourselves to be.  We all look for a way for others to see that and to accept us as we define ourselves.







by Sally E. Smith

The choice of models featured in the last issue of Dimensions brought up an old question: who is fat enough to belong to the size acceptance movement? The answer should be obvious, but apparently, to many people it is not.

The differences between the two models featured in the last issue of Dimensions (175 pound Catherine and super-size Cathy) were obvious--or were they? While it's true that one model outweighed the other by 300 pounds, the experiences of both women were similar on many levels. The inclusion of a 175-pound model in the pages of Dimensions generated reader comments that range from indignation that featuring a "skinny" model, to admissions that many FAs also find "smaller" large woman attractive, to kudos for embracing size diversity.

This spectrum of reactions mirrors issues that have plagued the size acceptance movement for many years, such as sizism within the movement, the prioritization of the movement' s work, and even how groups and organizations define themselves.

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